Useful Long-Distance Driving Tips: The Do’s and Don’ts

By Korir Isaac / Published June 14, 2021 | 9:20 pm




KEY POINTS

There are so many spectacular long-distance holiday destinations in Kenya, and while everyone often can’t wait to hit the road, it is always important to ensure your safety and that of your family or the friend’s tagging along.


Long distance driving

There are so many spectacular holiday destinations in Kenya, and while everyone often can’t wait to hit the road, it is always important to ensure your safety and that of your family or your friends during your long-distance driving.

A long-distance trip is one that typically covers over 300 kilometers or longer than 3 hours. It is the kind of journey that allows one to think, explore, and enjoy the old roads. The excitement is often overwhelming, and there might be lots of distractions, but amidst everything you do, there are dos and don’ts that all motorists share.

Here are long-distance driving tips that will help you enjoy your time on the road:

  1. Check the Car

Before anything else, ensure that your car is in good condition and will stack up against the arduous journey. Therefore, getting your car serviced is highly recommended. While at it, fill it up with fuel, check the water, oil, and tire pressure; clean the windows, and confirm that the headlights are properly working. Most importantly, don’t forget to carry a spare tire.

  1. Always Plan ahead

It is always important to know where you are going. This is a good way to ensure that your drive will be relaxing and enjoyable. As such, make sure that you plan your route using Maps of GPS, or whatever navigation system you use.

While doing so, make sure that you include stopovers for fuel, food, ablutions, and safe resting spots along the way. One of the most important things to consider during this step is the condition of the roads. Choose a path that will allow you to reach your destination safely.

On top of that, check the local weather for that day so you know what to expect along the way. For added safety, get in touch with someone you know throughout the journey so they know where you are at all times.

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  1. Get Plenty of Sleep the Night Before Leaving

The last thing you want happening during your log drive is getting fatigued while on the steering wheel. Not only is this unwise, but very dangerous as it could cause a serious accident or irreparable damage to your vehicle.

It, therefore, comes highly recommended that you get plenty of sleep the night before you leave for your trip leave. If your journey is scheduled for the morning, make sure to go to bed earlier than usual to get enough sleep. Do not consume alcohol or any other intoxicants during the day.

  1. Rest After Every 2 Hours or 200 km

Another good way of avoiding fatigue and letting your hands and eyes rest from staring up ahead and maneuvering the winding roads is by taking breaks. After every 2 hours or 200 kilometers, take a break.

Stop the vehicle, grab a bite, fill up your tank, use the bathroom, or simply stretch a little. This will give you the boost that you require for the next leg of the journey.

  1. Don’t be the Only One Driving

The likelihood of you getting tired behind the wheel is pretty minimal if you share the drive with someone else. Do not consistently drive for 10 hours straight without resting or having someone else help you.

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Have your partner, friend, a family member, or whoever you are going on the trip with help you drive. Take turns.

  1. Make it a Trip, Not a Race

The whole point of planning for long-distance driving is to enjoy the countryside or the beautiful sceneries around you. So, make it so by allowing ample time to drive. There is no point in rushing.

Plan your trip well, and factor in the rest times as well as other stops including those for refueling. You’ll also enjoy a more relaxing drive if you don’t need to rush to your destination.

  1. Dress for Comfort in the Car

Don’t be too dramatic. You are not going for a fashion gala or a trip to the Arctic. Wear something comfortable – that includes both clothes and shoes. If possible, carry a pillow if you know that you are vulnerable to backaches for sitting too long.

Also remember that along the way, at some point, you will be facing direct sunlight. So, also apply some sunscreen before you leave and re-apply every two hours.

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  1. Don’t Rely Entirely on Cruise Control

Cruise control is a handy tech that makes long-distance driving bearable. It literally lets you do nothing, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. The lack of driver involvement may lead to laziness not to mention the loss of concentration behind the wheel.

If you have cruise control on your vehicle, therefore, make sure that you use it for short periods only.

  1. Don’t Get Adventurous with Food

Going for a long-distance drive is not an opportunity for you to pack some fancy food for the journey or eat heavy meals. Ensure that you eat light and stay hydrated. Fast foods are not a great idea too as they might leave you bloated and uncomfortable making your journey a frustrating one.

Eat snacks and small portions of healthy food at regular intervals. Drink water to keep you hydrated.

  1. Keep the Windows Open

Ah, the fresh air. That feel, that rush, and that sensation the open windows present as you speed by is so relaxing and calming. Even though your car might have air conditioning, fresh air is essential to keep you alert. Open the windows intermittently to let fresh air into the car.

  1. Watch Out for the Road Signs and Obey the Rules of the road

Just because you’re on the freeway doesn’t mean you should get cocky and try what you watch in movies. Long-distance driving requires your full attention, especially so when driving long distances.

Don’t be distracted by cellphones, rowdy children in the backseat, or eating while you are driving. Importantly, obey the speed limit, don’t overtake dangerously, and ensure everyone in the car is buckled up properly. Finally, be courteous and considerate to other drivers and enjoy the trip.

Also, here are a few other pointers to keep you safe:

  • Don’t accelerate hard before the engine has warmed enough. 30mins is adequate
  • Constantly keep an eye on your gauges, any slight deviation that isn’t expected should be of concern
  • Have adequate water for you and at least 10 liters for the car
  • No matter how fast you are driving, go slow when approaching and passing towns
  • Don’t attempt to cross flooding/flooded areas
  • Notify close people of your trip

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Making Your Journey Bearable

On top of the above-listed dos and don’ts, here are a few more things to do to keep your journey lively:

  • Say a prayer before you embark
  • Leave early, preferably before everyone
  • Have a solid 6 hr minimum playlist
  • Eat light and keep snacks & drinks
  • Every 100 kilometers, reduce your volume and appreciate the ordinary sounds outside
  • Help other motorists if you can. Sometimes its water for a radiator or a lift to fix a tire

That said, enjoy the open roads, and get there safe!





About Korir Isaac

A creative, tenacious, and passionate journalist with impeccable ethics and a nose for anticipated and spontaneous news. He may not say it, but he sure can make one hell of a story.

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